News Quiz

No. 82: “What’s a Meta For?”

No. 82: “What’s a Meta For?’

By Randy Cohen

Speaking figuratively, Robert Hosey, the beneficiary of a new Los Angeles social program, said: “Wow! This is a Cadillac. Now I got to get rid of this Chevy before it gets me in trouble.” What is his “Cadillac”? What is his “Chevy”?

by noon ET Tuesday to e-mail your answer (

Responses to Monday’s question (No. 81)–“Talibanned”:

A July 9 announcement in Afghanistan spells trouble for that lovable kook Ally McBeal, among others. How so?

“All I know is the producers of the episode ‘A Very Kabul Christmas’ are gonna have to think fast.”–David Rakoff

“The mail-order bride business proves more troublesome, less lucrative than some enterprising young lawyers had hoped.”–Colleen Werthmann

“Peter MacNicol is being replaced by Salman Rushdie, who plays not only a quirky litigator and Ally’s new love interest but also serves on the American Beef Council’s advisory board. Yikes!!!!!”–Larry Amaros

“After Thursday’s 24-hour broadcast marathon, John Tesh Live at the Khyber Pass, Afghanistan’s minister for the prevention of vice and the promotion of virtue, Mohammed Qalamuddin, has ordered that all the country’s TV sets be destroyed.”–Peter Lerangis

“In two weeks, Taliban police will smash every TV set they find. If a set is tuned to Fox, they’ll smash it twice.”–Daniel Radosh

“Religious authorities ordered the collection of all TV sets, damning them as enemies of the state. Citizens will, however, still be permitted to gather for public screenings of Dawson’s Creek.”–Beth Sherman

“The Taliban’s decision to outlaw television means she’ll no longer be receiving those lucrative $1.93 residual checks from Afghani cable. (Irony of the day: My 15-month-old son Jake pronounces ‘television’ as ‘taliban.’)”–Cliff Schoenberg

Click for more responses.

Randy’s Reductive Wrap-Up

Our shared cultural assumptions–

What we know about Ally McBeal: She’s a pretty lawyer who wears short skirts into a unisex bathroom, where she envisions a dancing baby; she’s on Fox.

What we know about Fox: It’s the worst network.

What we know about Afghanistan: They have goats and a theocracy; cartographic features include Kabul and the Khyber Pass.

What we know about Cliff Schoenberg: He has a cute young son and a sense of irony.

Old-Time Religion Answer

As many of you know, the Taliban gave the Afghani people 15 days to get rid of their TV sets. On July 24, the religious police will begin conducting spot raids to smash sets and punish viewers “in accordance with Islamic law.” So perhaps, like Mussolini’s railroad reforms, even an appalling regime may promulgate one admirable policy. More typical of the Taliban’s Christian–sorry, Islamic–fundamentalist rule, women may not work or attend school. A recent edict forbids home schooling for girls older than 8 and denies medical care to women unaccompanied by a close male relative.

Kids’ Corner

Can You Find the Hidden Hypocrites in this Picture?

OK, it’s not a picture; Slate graphics are in their infancy. But consider:

At its convention in Atlanta yesterday, NAACP President Kweisi Mfume castigated the Supreme Court for its paucity of minority law clerks. He’s right, says the capable and attractive attorney, citing USA Today figures. Of the 394 law clerks that have worked for the nine sitting Supreme Court justices, there have been seven African-Americans, four Hispanic-Americans, and 17 Asians. That’s 1.8 percent, 1 percent, and 4.5 percent, respectively.

1. Can you name the four justices who’ve never had a black clerk?

2. Can you name the one justice who’s never had a minority clerk?

3. And his nickname?


1. Scalia, Souter, Kennedy, Rehnquist

2. Scalia

3. Nino

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